Case Treetop Forest Products
Case Treetop Forest Products
Identification (20%) Facts, assumptions and problem identification Building-grade lumber industry is competitive and product being sold is not differential; only differentiation is due to product packaging and presentation. Product packaging is biggest factor when buyers are making a purchasing decision between buying from Treetop or competitors. Over the last 2 years, Treetop has declined in ratings for package of lumber products as a result lost customers to competitors . Treetop has six departments: boom, sawmill, planer, packaging, shipping, and maintenance. All other departments have a supervisor; however, packaging department does not have one designated supervisor.
Possible solution is to convert one of the workers to supervisor, or dedicate a supervisor 100% of the time to packaging To solve the issue supervisor from sawmill and planer deparments cover the shifts. Due to distance between sawmill and planing divisions, the supervisors are unable given full attention to the operations of the packaging division. (assumption) Distance cause the supervisor to visit the departments not as often as they should. Productivity in 3 divisions remained constant, Sawmill and planing division productivity increased; however, productivity decreased in packaging department and caused the following:
Risk of damaged stock
increased the inventory cost
Cost Competitiveness suffered due to management placing additional employees from other divisions to solve the backlog issue faced by packaging department. Packaging department run two shifts – morning and afternoon
Productivity level of afternoon shifts is less than morning shift employees Reason behind the decreased in productivity level in the department is due to following: Employees takes extended lunch and coffee breaks
Leave few min early, specially afternoon shift
Reallocation of temporary employees from different productive departments also follow the same practise after being in the packaging department for few days. Based on the case facts, organizational effectiveness and productivity is being effected by the in place practises of Packaging Department. Following two major problems should be resolved to overcome the issues faced by Treetop: Packaging department’s employees are effecting the working habits of other department employees. Department wide meeting communicating the company values, performance issues of packaging department, statististics proving decline in packaging, and initiatives to stop extended lunches, coffee breaks, leaving few minutes early especially in afternoon shift Produce daily backlog reports showing increase in backlog and spoilage statistics.
Use negative consequences (firing), within union contract. and positive rewards based on production and quality targets being met. Methods and implementation of rewards can be determined by using Nominal Group Technique (variation of brain storming)- 1)silently and independently document their ideas, 2)collectively describe ideas to other team members without critique, and 3)silently ad independently evaluate the ideas presented Packaging division does not have a supervisor to oversee the operation on daily bases. This needs to change immediately. If costs can’t be justified, perhaps ½ time position added, that also is in production the other half , or Bal
Resolving the issues
The packaging department is mostly at fault for majority of the Treetop Forest Productions Ltd recent decline of organisational success, not only are the packaging employees at fault, but also management for not monitoring the situation more effectively. It’s vital for Treetop Forest Products to improve and maintain their competitive edge within the building grade timber industry to ensure future success of the organisation. If solutions are not implemented immediately, the success of the organisation will continue to decline, placing Treetop Forest Productions Ltd in an unfavourable position where recovery may be implausible.
Tackling the major issues illustrated within the packaging department will commence a strong positive path towards the future success of the organisation, placing them in a competitive position once again.
There are possible solutions that can assist with effectively and efficiently dealing with this issue. Firstly, supervision and leadership needs a major improvement within the packaging sector. As illustrated within all other fully supervised departments, work is completed efficiently and to a high quality standard. By providing packaging employees with the same supervision and leadership, near guarantees a positive change within the packaging department. Employing a leader with a with a transformational approach to leadership concerned with emotions, values, ethics, standards and long term goals will help to improve the work ethic within the packaging department. A supervisor with transformational leadership involves an exceptional form of influence that moves followers to accomplish more that what is usually expected of them. Furthermore, by introducing a new leader, costs will decrease due to supervised workers and the decrease of overtime; it can be implemented quickly, improve productivity and increase the equity of work.
As also explained within the issues of the packaging department, there is a lack of employee motivation. This is demonstrated through the low quality of work produced, longer breaks and early finishing times. Its important for managers to understand that each and every individual employee will have a set of drives, needs, decisions and behaviours to be motivated. By following the below diagram, Treetop Forest Products managers can use this to understand different emotional responses and resulting needs in the same situation.
promote group cohesiveness and a pleasant working environment. In the short term, upper management could host a meeting or assembly between all departments to make them feel interrelated and important to the company. This could be a great motivation for the employees. In the long term, group evaluations could be necessary to measure the group’s performance and to see if the actions taken are resolving the problems.
supervisor of the department. Learned Needs Theory: The Learned Needs Theory has three “learned needs” that can be defined as the “Need for Achievement”, “Need for Power”, and the “Need for Affiliation”. A need is amplified or suppressed through self-concept, social norms, and past experiences (Internet Center for Management and Business Administration, Inc., 2002), although needs can also be learned through training whether it be strengthening or weakening the need. The members of the packaging department could have been more aware of their needs whether it is affiliation, power, or achievement and if they were more aware of what was there, there could have been more motivation on the part of the members to excel. Also, with the appointment of an actual supervisor, instead of taking them from other departments, it could have ensured that these needs be amplified through some forms of friendly competition or rewards.
The “Need for Power” is stated as the need to make an impact on others, influence others, change people or events, and make a difference in life. If this need was taught to the members of the packaging department by the supervisors of the other departments, there could be a chance someone internally would strive so much for the need of power that he or she would emerge as the leader in a department with a declining productivity level. Having the ability to control others is a very powerful characteristic which everyone strives for internally, so if this need was brought forward by executives there would be an increase in competition and drive between the members to claim that position of hierarchy in the department.
The “Need for Achievement” is the need and desire for excellence, competition, challenging goals, and overcoming difficulties. With the simple action as a reward put forth throughout the company internally that the employees of each section could enjoy, it could ignite an employee’s need for achievement and desire for excellence which in turn could ignite the competition in every employee to achieve success like his or her fellow employee has. People strive for recognition and success and if this need was amplified in the employees who have made it clear that they want to enjoy the benefits that come from a high productivity level, and brought out of those who believe that they don’t need success, Treetop Forest Products could internally enjoy success of their own making their business profit at its maximum rate.
The “Need for Affiliation” is defined as the need for individuals maintain close, intimate relationships, or approval of other people. If Treetop Forest Products could bring out this need in the packaging department by showing them how the other departments in the company get along which in turn brings the productivity level up within the department. Although, the employees of the packaging do well of getting along with each other by performing bad habits such as leaving early or extending their breaks, if that could be transformed through the training of good habits such as exceeding expected productivity levels and working hard, the affiliation that is present now could be that much stronger and emphasized in the department. Also, in addition to affiliation within the department, there is also the possibility with the rise of productivity level and affiliation within the The team has strong cohesion, but needs to be turned around. (employees transferred are conforming to the team norms of lack of punctuality)” Norms are the informal rules and shared expectations that groups establish to regulate the bahavour of their members.” Padge 225 chapter 8 Canadian Org Behaviour . It has to be set as a rethink to the department and communicating the new norms and aligning the norms with the company goals and objectives is critical.
Through these simple needs that can be taught or learned, Treetop Forest Products could experience not only success from their five already successful departments but from the packaging department as well. If amplified the packaging department would benefit from the affiliation they would gain from the other departments, the power that employees could possibly gain with the increase of productivity via promotions or recognition, and the rewards that the employees of the packaging could gain through increased productivity levels. If Treetop Forest Products were to implicate these two simple theories there is a possibility that the packaging department would no longer be a harmful unit but instead an asset that Treetop can rely on. Through the Situational Leadership Theory, Treetop has the opportunity to find a leader that can adapt to the group and individuals and convert the now declining productivity level of the packaging department to an increasing level of productivity like the five other departments in the company.
With the Learned Needs Theory, Treetop has the ability to install the needs for achievement, power, and affiliation to the packaging department to encourage friendly competition between the employees while still steadily increasing the productivity levels of the department. Conclusion: Treetop Forest Products and Westboard Co have been suffering the consequences of the lackluster performance from their packaging department since there is no authority figure to keep the employees on task and working hard to produce sellable products for Westboard. With the packaging department not having their own supervisor, Treetop has appointed the supervisors of the sawmill and planing department as the supervisors of the packaging department during their shifts.
With the packaging department being in a different location then the sawmill and planing department, it has caused the supervisors to make the packaging department an afterthought and with the productivity levels of the packaging department decreasing it has shown. After evaluating the case of Treetop Forest Product and the issues with their packaging department, they have been using the Contingency Theory which states that there is no one best way of leading and that a leadership style that is effective in some situations may not be successful in others and that while a leader may be very effective at one place and point in time may become unsuccessful either when transplanted to another situation or when factors around t hem change. This was clear in the case of Treetop Forest Product’s case because although the leaders were very effective with their own departments, increasing the productivity levels of their respective departments, when transferred over to the packaging department their effectiveness did not follow. Each leader has their own key characteristics that play a major part in how they lead, whether it is their personality, drive, emotional intelligence, self-concept, etc. so what may be high and effective in one leader and his or her department may not be high and effective in a different department’s leader.
Since the sawmill and planing departments were so successful when implanted into a failing department, the situation as well as the effectiveness of the leader changed. Instead of the Contingency Theory, there were others that if Treetop were to implement it could have made the productivity level of the packaging department go up while creating a better atmosphere within the company. If Treetop were to take the leader who was most able to conform his or her leadership style to that of the packaging department instead of just taking the top two departments supervisors without considering the important variables such as distance and drive, Treetop could have improved the situation within the packaging department.
With these simple changes to the company, Treetop could have quite easily changed the atmosphere and effectiveness of the packaging department to better the profits and trust gained from Westboard. If Treetop were to dedicate an individual supervisor based on performance and authoritative qualities within the department instead of having an external employee take on the responsibility of turning the packaging department around, the chances of increasing the productivity level of the packaging department would increase which would not only benefit the department but Treetop Forest Products and Westboard Co. respectively.